Dietary exposure to phthalates in the European population from infants to the elderly

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstract


Exposure assessment is one of the four pillars of chemical risk assessment carried out in EFSA. Exposure assessment methodologies can differ from one field to the other and this is of relevance when considering chemicals that are ubiquitous (such as phthalates) in different matrices and can contribute to an aggregate exposure. Several options are available to carry out exposure assessment, starting from crude conservative estimates following a tiered approach to refined exposure assessments based on individual food consumption data. EFSA selects the best approach on a case by case basis to guarantee the protection of EU citizens. Recently, EFSA received a mandate to update its 2005 risk assessments of five phthalates [1–5] which are authorised in the EU for use in plastic food contact materials: di-butylphthalate (DBP), butylbenzylphthalate (BBP), di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), di-isononylphthalate (DINP) and diisodecylphthalate (DIDP). Dietary exposure (mean and 95th percentile) was estimated for different age groups from infants to the very elderly across 22 European countries by combining literature occurrence data with individual consumption data from the EFSA Comprehensive Food Consumption Database. Exposure estimates were assessed for the 5 phthalates individually and also as a group since some of them were placed into a Cumulative Assessment Group on the basis of co-exposure and due to sharing a common mode of action for toxicity. Data and methodology adopted to assess chronic dietary exposure to the named phthalates will be presented along with key results [6]. A comparison of results with reported exposure estimates obtained using other methodologies (such as biomonitoring and total diet studies) and the uncertainties related to the approach used will also be discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S70
Number of pages1
JournalToxicology Letters
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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